Milt Abel is a stand-up comedian traveling the world, and places closer.


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Coral Princess 4/3 – 4/8 (part 2)

By Milt Abel | May 17, 2008

| May 17, 2008

Myself, and two other cruise ship employees left the Kingston Bay airport late at night to be dropped off at our respective hotels by our driver. Usually Princess treats their entertainers quite nicely, overnighting us in a respectable hotel with a comfortable bed and meal allowance. I was going to a different hotel than the other passengers in the van, and that was expected. Some who work on ships come from a third (or higher number) world country, and amenities I take for granted can bring giddy laughter like they’re getting away with something, from others. And fortunately I’m getting used to nicer treatment these days, it’s been a long time since I’ve stayed at a Motel 6 –especially when I thought further about their advertising campaign: ‘We’ll leave the light on for you.’ That’s how you attract moths.

I’m not going to specifically name the hotel I stayed at in Kingston Bay, to protect the innocent –though I met precious few there. The most innocent had to be the bellhop/maintenance boy who, in the wee hours of the morning carried my luggage up flights of narrow, zig-zagging, exterior cement stairs. As we worked our way along a hallway to my room he asked, in a kindly and apologetic tone, “I guess this isn’t as nice a hotel as you are used to staying at?” I wanted to shout out “Bingo!” But that wouldn’t have been as kindly and apologetic as he was being to me, so I muttered, “Oh, I’ve stayed at worse ones,” and searched my memory wondering how much I had just lied.

He showed me into a room, turned on the lights and a started a wall-mounted air-conditioner that sounded like an ill-tuned school bus with its hood open. Being an Oregonian, air condition in the warm, humid climate of Jamaica was a must, but I was so exhausted from the day’s travel I assumed I could fall asleep anyway, but my porter apologetically and kindly insisted we get another room, “one with a quieter air-conditioner.” I think that’s what he said. It was hard to make out his specific words over the din. Instead of accompanying him back and up the stairs I waited for him at the altitude we had already claimed, establishing a base camp for our try at a quieter air-conditioner.

We found one. Our second try put us under the cooling air of a machine emitting a sleepy background noise that would only bother piano tuners and eavesdroppers. It was the hole in the bathroom wall that caused more of a ruckus with me. I didn’t notice it until after he had left, it just wasn’t my custom to walk into a bathroom the first and only minute I have company. It wasn’t big enough for a handyman to poke his head through while you were occupied and announce, “Woah, lookie here at the hole, mon!” No, it was small and opening to the wall that carried all the moist plumping and creepy crawling things that thought this hotel was just fine. I picked up the phone to complain and the handset gave no dial tone. I pushed buttons and plugged and unplugged jacks and it was just dead. That was certainly one way to avoid hearing complaints; shortsighted, but brilliant. If the hole in the bathroom had been big enough and to an outside wall I supposed I could have yelled down to front desk. But I was as dead as the phone, so I went to sleep thinking about what might crawl out of the wall and how I’d scurry myself, to a different hotel the next morning.

If you’re dreadfully curious what hotel this was in Kingston Bay, I’ll give you a hint. Its name sounds like an English cheese –and don’t think stilton/Hilton, those are always nice hotels. This hotel was cheesier.

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